Published: Thursday, 28th April 2016
The Court of Appeal has delivered a key ruling on the meaning of “inappropriate development” in the Green Belt.
This followed a case involving a proposal to extend a nursery with a large glasshouse covering some 92,000 square metres located within the Lee Valley Regional Park on the north-eastern flank of Greater London. Valley Grown Nurseries planned to use the glasshouse to grow tomatoes and peppers.
The site in question was in Green Belt and less than a kilometre from the Lee Valley Special Protection Area (SPA) and Ramsar site. Permission for the scheme was given by Epping Forest District Council.
The Regional Park Authority had objected to the proposal citing harm to the Green Belt, alleged conflict with policy in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the development plan as well the impact the development might have on the SPA. It unsuccessfully challenged the permission in the High Court and now at the Court of Appeal.
The appeal raised wide ranging issues concerning the interplay between the statutory presumption in favour of the development plan and the NPPF, the requirements of the Habitats Directive, and the meaning and effect of NPPF policy for the construction of agricultural buildings in the Green Belt.
According to 39 Essex Chambers, whose Peter Village QC and Ned Helme appeared for Valley Grown Nurseries, the principal issue in the case concerned the consequences of a proposal being appropriate (or “not inappropriate”) development in the Green Belt. They successfully defended the appeal on all grounds.
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